STATE BILL COLORADO
Colorado’s Senate on Tuesday preliminarily approved legislation requiring Xcel Energy to convert two coal-fired power plants to natural gas. The measure, which has bipartisan support, is being challenged by the coal industry. Here’s how news organizations covered the bill’s passage.
The Denver Post: Xcel Energy got a green light from the state legislature Tuesday to start a comprehensive plan to cut air pollution at aging coal-fired power plants — with “primary consideration” to switching to natural gas. On a voice vote, the state Senate approved a bill that requires Xcel Energy to cut emissions of nitrogen oxides by 70 to 80 percent by 2017 at aging Front Range coal plants. Nitrogen oxides contribute to Colorado’s regional haze and ozone pollution problems.
The Denver Business Journal: House Bill 1365 had sailed through the House with bipartisan support but ran into a cauldron of anger among Senate Republicans who said it would run the coal industry out of business in Colorado. After its expected final approval on Wednesday and concurrence vote by the House on Thursday, however, the bill is likely to be signed into law fairly quickly by Gov. Bill Ritter.
Pueblo Chieftain: Born just last week, HB1365 has grown up quickly. It already has passed the house and faces a final vote of the Senate soon, possibly as early as today.
The Durango Herald: Opposition hardened to Sen. Bruce Whitehead’s bill on coal-fired power plants Tuesday, although a bipartisan coalition held together well enough that the bill could pass the Senate as early as today. The debate caused a family feud between the top two Republicans in the Senate and the other 12. Meanwhile, three Democrats voted against the bill by Whitehead, a fellow Democrat from Hesperus.
Associated Press: Legislation aimed at using natural gas to reduce Front Range emissions from coal-fired power plants and heading off federal clean air restrictions won initial approval Tuesday in the state Senate. The Senate voted 20-13 to back the bill, setting up a final vote on Wednesday. The measure has already been approved by the House.
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: It isn’t right to promote one industry at the expense of another, according to state senators who oppose a measure to convert Front Range, coal-fired, power plants to burn natural gas. Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, and other senators argued Tuesday to no avail that while the idea likely would boost drilling jobs on the Western Slope and elsewhere in the state, there could be a corresponding decrease in the number of mining and railroad positions.